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Research Papers

Modeling Analysis of Different Renewable Fuels in an Anode Supported SOFC

[+] Author and Article Information
Martin Andersson

Department of Energy Sciences, Faculty of Engineering, Lund University, Box 118, 221 00 Lund, Swedenmartin.andersson@energy.lth.se

Hedvig Paradis, Jinliang Yuan, Bengt Sundén

Department of Energy Sciences, Faculty of Engineering, Lund University, Box 118, 221 00 Lund, Sweden

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 8(3), 031013 (Mar 01, 2011) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4002618 History: Received August 12, 2010; Revised August 16, 2010; Published March 01, 2011; Online March 01, 2011

It is expected that fuel cells will play a significant role in a future sustainable energy system due to their high energy efficiency and possibility to use as renewable fuels. Fuels, such as biogas, can be produced locally close to the customers. The improvement for fuel cells during the past years has been fast, but the technology is still in the early phases of development; however, the potential is enormous. A computational fluid dynamics (CFD) approach (COMSOL MULTIPHYSICS ) is employed to investigate effects of different fuels such as biogas, prereformed methanol, ethanol, and natural gas. The effects of fuel inlet composition and temperature are studied in terms of temperature distribution, molar fraction distribution, and reforming reaction rates within a singe cell for an intermediate temperature solid oxide fuel cell. The developed model is based on the governing equations of heat, mass, and momentum transport, which are solved together with global reforming reaction kinetics. The result shows that the heat generation within the cell depends mainly on the initial fuel composition and the inlet temperature. This means that the choice of internal or external reforming has a significant effect on the operating performance. The anode structure and catalytic characteristic have a major impact on the reforming reaction rates and also on the cell performance. It is concluded that biogas, methanol, and ethanol are suitable fuels in a solid oxide fuel cell system, while more complex fuels need to be externally reformed.

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Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Sketch of an anode-supported SOFC, not to scale

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Figure 2

Gas phase temperature distribution for prereformed methanol (SF=3)

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Figure 3

Gas phase temperature distribution for prereformed methanol (SF=5)

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Figure 4

Gas phase temperature distribution for prereformed methanol (SF=3) in the middle of the cell (at x=0.05 m)

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Figure 5

Gas phase temperature distribution for biogas-steam mixture

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Figure 6

Gas phase temperature distribution for prereformed ethanol (SF=3)

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Figure 7

Gas phase temperature distribution for 30% prereformed natural gas

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Figure 8

Gas phase temperature distribution for biogas-steam mixture with an increased inlet temperature

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Figure 9

Molar fraction of the gas species in the fuel channel along the flow direction for prereformed methanol (SF=3)

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Figure 10

Molar fraction of the gas species in the fuel channel along the flow direction for biogas-steam mixture

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Figure 11

Reaction rate (in mol/(m3 s)) for the steam reforming reaction within the anode for the case with biogas-steam mixture

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Figure 12

Reaction rate (in mol/(m3 s)) for the steam reforming reaction within the anode for prereformed methanol (SF=3)

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Figure 13

Reaction rate (in mol/(m3 s)) for the water-gas shift reaction within the anode for prereformed methanol (SF=3)

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Figure 14

Reaction rate (in mol/(m3 s)) for the water-gas shift reforming reaction within the anode for biogas-steam mixture

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